Sunday, October 17, 2010

Halloween Questions

Arkonbey had a fun questionnaire and I thought I would get in on it.

1.What is the worst treat to get when trick-or-treating?

I got a toothbrush once...likely from a dentist. It wasn't terrible, but not what I was looking for.

2.What character from any horror film would you most like to play?

Gomez Addams

3.Would you rather be a zombie, alien, or psycho? (why)

Alien: Specifically a non-humanoid one.

4.How many Halloween, Friday the 13th, or Nightmare on Elm Street movies combined do you have on dvd?

None...not my kind of thing. Saw Halloween I and Friday the 13th on TV though.

5.What is the scariest movie you have ever seen?

Schindler's List

6. Lamest costume you have worn on Halloween?

Admittedly, most of them.

7. Favorite Halloween treat?

Nestle Crunch bars (the little ones)

8. Friendly-faced jack o’lantern or scary one?

Weird or artistic.

9.Have you ever had nightmares about a scary movie character chasing you?

No. But I was attacked by the panther in my black light poster (similar to the one below) in a dream and it did quite a lot of damage to my flesh before I woke up.

10.Best thing about Halloween?

Seeing kids enjoy their alter egos.

11.Strangest Halloween custom you’ve heard of?

Harvest festivals where people are "scared of the worshipping the devil."

12.Person in your family who most likes Halloween (not counting yourself)?

My daughter

13.Are you superstitious? If so, name at least one superstition of yours.

Sometimes, but I try to beat down the impulse when it arises.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

OCF - Endings & Beginnings

Flying Away...

This year was a good Fair, but one in which things added up to not coming back next year. First of all, the last several years had an optional higher price for supporting the Fair's sustainability initiatives, like Peach Power/Alternative Energy, Durables/Zero Waste and others. This year it was not an option. ALL tickets were Green tickets. Hmmm. Then, last year and AGAIN this year we were not allowed to park until the "Main Gate" opened by a person I shall call Stone Woman. Usually we could drive through the side entrance and have the privilege of waiting at the outside gate until 10am, then at the Dragon Gate until 11am, when "day trippers" are allowed in. Yea, the people who paid more than $20+ a day (basically to fund a huge private party)....Funny when the "Main Gate" opened sometime after 9:30am (when told it was to open at 9am by Stone Woman) the PUBLIC parking was already 1/3 to 1/2 filled. Hmmmmmmm... It put me in a right foul mood.

While waiting at the Dragon Gate, I connected with a old time Fair worker named Willow who started in 1976. She got tired of it all and moved to Arizona around 1998. This year was her first time back. She was camping nearby and walked in. They would not let HER in, (with her "day tripper" ticket in hand) until 9:30 or so when the Main Gate opened. She said it was "Bullshit".

Dragon Gate!

There were other signs... On the way there, the osprey nest that was next to the highway at the edge of the reservoir was empty. No birds or babies in sight. I called an old acquaintance who'd managed to get onto the Music answer all weekend; (he'd hinted last year it might be his last, the partying and long hours-among other things- were frustrating). Then there was the cost of two hotel rooms instead of the usual one (3 teenagers!) and the realization we no longer wanted to spend money on the same old vendors. The ones we really like we can buy from anytime because they also have a web presence. Finally, the whole reason I wanted to come early on Friday was for the special limited edition sarongs they sell (well, since 2006). Nope, they didn't exist for 2010! Evidently the people who had been primarily responsible for them started working for an NGO in the batik contact in Bali was lost.

Mehendi Hand!

So what was good? We introduced Beaniac's boyfriend to the Fair. We had her other friend down from Alaska for his second Fair. The kids got alot of swimming in at the pool too! We enjoyed some great meals at the Glenwood Restaurant again. I got a beautiful Mehendi done and spent some very fruitful time in the Labyrinth. I was able to clarify alot of things about what I want I want to focus on in the coming year. I was also able to hear Grandmother Agnes Baker Pilgrim speak about her fears, hopes and her work for the future. Her talk was very inspiring actually and confirmed a path I'd been moving towards for some time (living a more simple self-reliant life style and gaining the skills to do so).

The Last Day the Labyrinth!

Last but not least, Snabby and I decided we no longer wanted to be tied down to the second weekend in July as we have for the last 12 years. It was a slightly bittersweet decision for me, but when something starts becoming a chore instead of a rousing fun inspirational fest, it's time to move on. See the 2010 poster image at the top? Another sign, flying away for another adventure!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Zero Intelligence

Zero Tolerance Syndrome seems to be one of the epidemics of the 2000s. In a way, it's kind of like AIDS: a viral infection compromises the immune system to the point of rendering it moot, so that any small bug that would normally pass unnoticed suddenly becomes a chronic issue. In this case, however, the "infection" is some kind of perceived evil, real or imagined, that somebody in power thinks merits a witch hunt. The "immune system" is common sense.

The problem is that the whole notion of "zero tolerance" has become something of a status symbol. Authority figures want to show how righteous they are (read "make people believe their family jewels are a bit larger than BBs") by vowing to get tough on anything that even vaguely smacks of [insert public enemy du jour here]. And since righteousness (ahem *manliness* cough) tends to be strangely competitive, you often wind up with a whole bunch of leaders trying to outdo each other in terms of just how zero their tolerance really is.

We Americans are fond of pointing at our Great Parent, Mother England, and laughing (sympathetically, of course) at the Monty Python-esque Nanny State it has become. We shake our heads at tales of 17-year-olds not being allowed to buy bicycle repair kits (lest they sniff the glue), people being fined for dropping bits of their sandwich, old ladies being told they can't tend flowerbeds without safety equipment, garbage collectors not allowed to clean up garbage in a shallow creek because they're not licensed to wear boots, or people catching repeat thief/vandals and calling the police only to wind up arrested themselves. But while we're so eager to guffaw at the speck in the eye of the Jolly Old Isles, we don't seem to be noticing the log popping up in our own.

After all, the good old US of A, while being the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave®, is also the country where:
This list could easily go on and on, but I think you get the picture. Naturally, all of these absurdities are rationalized by authority figures and experts citing the need for "drastic measures" to face a "growing problem". They boast about how they are getting "tough" on something or another by making examples (read "scapegoats") of people whose "crimes" probably wouldn't have merited a second glance a couple of decades ago. Meanwhile, the comment threads on the news articles are often punctuated with die-hards remarking that "all places have there rules" and that "Zeяo toleяanse mens zeяo toleяanse - theяs no gяay aяea". (Hmm...I wonder if they'd be half as smug if their own son were suspended because they'd gone off and left something in their car.)

However, I still have to wonder whether, far from being any kind of noble crusade, this Zero Tolerance stuff is just a way for authority figures to boast about fighting a problem while at the same time ducking it. They say they're allowing no gray areas because they don't want any complaints or accusations of discrimination, and yet at the same time they seem to be trying to turn life itself into a series of mindless "if - then" statements without any thought about the consequences. They're only too pleased to see innocent members of the community if not honor students have their whole record ruined just so the guy on top can pass judgment without having to use his head...let alone take any kind of criticism. Zero Tolerance certainly makes things a lot simpler.

Then again, "simple" can be synonymous with "brainless".

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Lingua Fracture

Today I logged into Facebook and opened my news feed to see this status post from one of my FB friends (who is an old schoolmate):

WELCOME TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Press 1 for English. Press 2 to disconnect until you learn to speak English. And remember only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you, JESUS CHRIST. And the AMERICAN SOLIDER. One died for your soul, the other for your freedom. If you agree... copy and paste in your status on Saturday...

It seems like status posts like this have been appearing a lot lately, no doubt in response to the recent controversy in Arizona. (I already addressed that issue quite enough on my own blog...and it ended with our favorite thread-jacker severing all contact with me and slandering me viciously by name online. That will be all, thank you.) Even without the militant Christian message, and even without all the "like" names attached to that post, there is something very disturbing about this. The first part says basically, "Speak English or get out of the US." This is a theme that has been spreading like wildfire of late, perhaps even the crusade du jour. The obvious target here is illegal Spanish-speaking immigrants, but this goes a lot deeper than that by its very nature.

The United States of America is actually one of few countries in the world that does NOT have a designated official language. It is also one of very, very few countries in the world that doesn't have a second language, official or otherwise. Go just about anywhere in the world, and you'll find that schools teach a particular foreign language as a compulsory subject. In most countries that second language is English, though in some places it's French, Russian, or even Japanese. The local governments most likely offer services in that language, too. In the case of Japan, where I live, the second language is English. (I speak Japanese fluently, but I do appreciate those English-language services!) The fact that English is the second language in most countries of the world, including Russia and China, really makes things easier, not only for foreign tourists but also international business. Go to many parts of the world and you'll find English-speaking ex-pats living and working there, sometimes with little if any command of the local native tongue. So why is it that the US shouldn't return the favor to some degree by offering services in at least one non-English language?

On that note, I remember how amused if not outraged people were when both France and the province of Quebec in Canada became "franco-nazis" and made it a crime to post public notices in languages other than French. Why, then, are so many Americans now starting to become "anglo-nazis" in a similar vein?

I'm sure there are a lot of people ready and eager to come at me with wordy lectures about illegal immigrants living on welfare and eating up tax dollars, etc., but that's not really the point here, is it? The point is this: Where on the Statue of Liberty does it follow "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free," with, "as long as you speak English"?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

New Post

(Just because...)

Facebook is destroying civilization.

Friday, March 19, 2010

St. Patrick's Day!

Well I finally have some pictures of the St. Patrick's Day Feast I've put on for several years here they are! I had more people that usually over...we invited Beaniac's boyfriend and his parents. His father was unable to join us as he works out of town, but his mother came and enjoyed it very much! We also had Snabby's Dad and brother too. My Dad couldn't join us as he had a previous engagement...but my Mom said she wouldn't miss it! I think everybody had a good time...and the boyfriend even had seconds!

The Kid's Table!

Please note that the jug is McMenamin's Apple Cider. It's non-alcoholic! Plus I've got the nice little white teapot mom brought me and a small pitcher of milk. Now I just need to get a matching ceramic one! Also the St. Patrick's Day themed screen saver is courtesy of Snabby. He cobbled together some vintage postcard pics in a nice background for me...have been using that for several years as well. The little leprechauns I have around are from Annalee, although I usually buy from another lady Sue Coffee as I like the older vintage ones mostly.

If you'd like the recipes for the meal, I've posted them on this blog in years past - here are the links: Corned Beef & Cabbage and the dessert. I can't wait for next year...think I'll get some shortbread cookies at Kathleen's of Dublin!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Astoria Rest Stop


Last weekend Snabby and I took a little break and went to Astoria for some much needed R&R. Although overall the weather was overcast and drizzly, we mostly just wanted to cozy up and not do much, so that worked out perfectly. We had a great time and discovered some new restaurants in the process! We stayed at our favorite place, Hotel Elliott because we love the beds (of course!) and we can just park the car and walk to everything downtown. Our first little excursion was out to Drina Daisey, a new Bosnian restaurant. We had an EXCELLENT wine which even I drank more than one glass of...a huge free hor d'oevres plate with sausage, smoked beef, grilled peppers and a spread made of roasted peppers and eggplant, a HUGE pre-salad with a wonderful light oil & lemon dressing...HUGE entrees (beefstuffed cabbage for me and beef stew for Snabby). I finished up with homemade Baklava. Yum!

Godfather's Books

We also visited our favorite bookstore, a real hippie place with funky used books and VERY lively strange patrons. Evidently they like sitting and talking for hours, don't need to work (several obviously homeless people hung out there), and since they are often over the age of 50 - don't meet the "young, hip & goodlooking" criteria for the more expensive bars.

We did decide to take a little road trip and check out Fort Stevens for lunch on Sunday. We took the leftovers from Drina's for our repast (there was ALOT of food!) and headed out, hoping to sit on the beach near the Peter Iredale...well we missed that turn off and ended up out on the spit. We did not go down actually on the beach as the tide was so high there was barely any walking space. No worries though we just decided to eat on the grass at top of the hill overlooking the ocean. We listened to the waves and watched the birds...

Fort Stevens Pacific Ocean

The sun broke through for a little bit and we even got a little warmth from the cold wind that was blowing. There were a few people here and there...but mostly we were quite alone and thoroughly enjoying ourselves in nature! I forgot to say both of our entrees included lots of beautifully cut fresh fruit and pickled vegetables. I so enjoyed eating all the fruit after finishing up my beefy cabbage! Here's a picture of Snabby looking north, (well he's looking south..but you know what I mean!).

Pacific Ocean Feb 2010

Here's another picture of me taken facing east. We are still on top of the hill at the beach. You can see the Young's Bay in the background and the low mountains that are south of Astoria. On the way back down the hill we saw where deer had passed over the trail.... Also we were able to get in for "free" as one of Snabby's Christmas gifts was a 2 year Oregon State Park pass!

Ladybug Feb 2010 Fort Stevens

We did some more shopping (more about that and some other interesting local lore coming soon on Hypatia's website)... and made another fun discovery of the Fort George Brewery. It was as comfortable as a McMenamin's and had very good food for reasonable prices. (The same cannot be said of some of the other more tourist trafficked haunts like The Supper Club [used to be The Schooner] or the Silver Salmon). It also has a breakfast/daytime cafe in the other part of the building. We are really glad we discovered this place too. It used to be a car repair factory as late as 1998 or so....

Finally I will leave you with a picture of our wonderful bed at the Hotel Elliott..and the elegant red glass lamps...

Wonderful Beds!